Life Cycle Air Quality Impact Assessment
Global warming and energy independence concerns are often cited as major motivators in the search for alternatives to petroleum transport fuel. Any resulting changes in the transport sector, however, may also impact air quality and health. These researchers are examining spatial, temporal, and chemical-speciation aspects of the greenhouse gas and air pollution impacts of transportation fuels, specifically: the air quality-related public health impacts of specific alternative fuels compared to gasoline; how different groups of people would be differentially effected by those impacts; and how spatial patterns in greenhouse gas and radiatively active aerosol emissions would shift with the adoption of alternative fuels.
The researchers are analyzing a range of fuels and fuel sources: gasoline vehicles, both conventional and high-efficiency; diesel vehicles; ethanol-powered vehicles from both corn stover and corn grain; and electric vehicles using electricity from natural gas, coal, the grid average, and corn stover. They use spatiotemporal life cycle assessment, photochemical dispersion modeling, and census-based exposure assessment to investigate these issues.
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